A bowling alley, sports bar, 4,100-square-foot arcade, and convention hall all reside within Blainbrook Entertainment Center. In the bowling alley, families and friends challenge each other at one of 24 neon-lit lanes equipped with automatic scoring or join the center's competitive leagues for adults and children ages 5–19. Meanwhile, sports fans grab a seat in the sports bar to watch games on big-screen TVs, listen to live music, enjoy steak dinners from the menu, or play pool. Pool tables also fill the arcade alongside poker tables, dartboards, and more than 50 games, including virtual-reality games. And when guests need to host a wedding reception, family reunion, or rock-paper-scissors competition, they fill Brookhall–a large convention center with a bar, crystal chandeliers, and access to an outdoor garden.
Aromas of baking pizzas and simmering house-made sauces drift from the kitchen of Umbria, which is named in honor of the region of Italy where the eatery’s founders developed their recipes. The cooks forge crusts from freshly kneaded dough, which they slip into the rippling heat of the ovens. Kraft macaroni 'n' cheese, smoked bacon, sauerkraut, corned beef, gyro meat, and other inventive ingredients scatter across pies and allow patrons to customize a meal that is already shaped exactly like their favorite manhole cover.
In a way, Big Dipper Ice Cream Shop specializes in fusion cuisine. The family-owned shop combines ice cream with a variety of desserts to make entirely new concoctions. For instance, their handmade ice cream flavors are infused with a host of candies that would feel right at home in a movie theater including Almond Joy and Snickers. Other flavors derive their tang from fresh fruit, as in the case of black raspberry and caramel apple. Still others owe their taste to classic confections such as cheesecake, licorice, and the popular dirty turtle, a mix of dark chocolate, pecans, and caramel.
There are more than 40 flavors in all behind the counter. And though you might miss out on mint oreo during one visit, you could get lucky the next time you stop by as the staff constantly rotates the selection. These staffers are also responsible for the shop's festive, community atmosphere that can make their sweets taste even sweeter, a fact that earned the shop a nomination for the 2013 Macaroni Kid Family Choice Awards. There's even a vending machine outside where customers can pick up pre-packaged servings to eat ice cream on the go without having to install a tiny freezer in their glove compartment.
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half-century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.